"Delivery has been poor for consumers and has led to perverse consequences for installers, and the scheme remains too short-term to have any prospect of achieving its initial targets."
Just 6.3% of the £1.5 billion budget for the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020/21 has been spent and 86% of homeowners reported having a 'poor experience' with the application process, according to new government data.
The Environmental Audit Select Committee admitted that the scheme needed to be "urgently overhauled" but said any money not spent on the scheme will not be rolled over to next year.
The Green Homes Grant Scheme opened for applications on 30th September, allowing homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers to pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation.
Under the Scheme, the government funds two thirds of the cost of green improvements up to £5,000 per household and the full cost up to £10,000 for low income households.
In response to a written parliamentary question, Energy Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan has said that: “As of 8th February, 71,953 applications have been received for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme, with 22,165 vouchers having been issued to customers. The value of these vouchers is currently £94.1 million.”
The Government has set aside £1.5 billion for the scheme in 2020/21 and just £320 million for 2021/22.
This means that 30.8% of applications received so far have led to vouchers being issued and just 6.3% of the overall budget for the Green Homes Grant scheme in 2020/21 has been spent.
The Energy Minister noted that: “The original funding for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme was announced as a short-term stimulus, for use in the 2020/21 financial year only. In the 2020 Spending Review, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £320 million of funding for the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme for 2021/22, as part of funding allocated to make homes and buildings more energy efficient and less carbon intensive.”
In its report, the Environmental Audit Committee said: “In November 2020 we conducted a survey to find out how easy it had been for home improvers to access. In total, 510 people responded to the survey. Alarmingly, 86% of those responding to the survey had had a poor experience with the process, although just over half applying had found the Green Homes Grant eligibility calculator helpful. The eligibility criteria, however, prevented many from being able to access vouchers for the measures they required: homeowners must install primary measures before receiving the same funding towards secondary measures.
“We welcome the intention behind the Government’s Green Homes Grant. It is disappointing that the administration of the scheme appears to be putting green jobs at risk, rather than creating them. Delivery has been poor for consumers and has led to perverse consequences for installers, and the scheme remains too short-term to have any prospect of achieving its initial targets. We recommend that the Green Homes Grant scheme be urgently overhauled and extended to provide greater long-term stimulus to the domestic energy efficiency sector. The Government must be mindful not to repeat the mistakes of the failed Green Deal energy efficiency incentive scheme.”
Meera Chindooroy, deputy policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association, commented: “Our own survey data shows that 43% of landlords are interested in applying for a grant and there is clear appeal in the potential of the scheme to ensure the energy efficiency improvements we all want to see.
“Given that just 6% of the budget assigned for the grants in 2020/21 has actually been spent, the scheme is simply failing to achieve the results Ministers had hoped. We agree with the Select Committee that the eligibility criteria for the scheme is preventing many from being able to access it and Ministers need to address this as a matter of urgency.”